East Anglian electrical chain fights falling high street footfall with online investment

Robert Hughes. Picture: SIMON FINLAY

Robert Hughes. Picture: SIMON FINLAY - Credit: EDP pics � 2011(01603) 772434

An East Anglian electrical retail chain has succeeded in countering falls in high street footfall by investing heavily in its online offer.

Hughes Electrical managing director Robert Hughes said the investment was paying off, with 14 times more onlines sales per head of population within 10 miles of one of its 40 stores.

East Anglian high streets saw shopper numbers fall by 5.6% in March compared to the previous year, figures released by , partly driven by weather, but partly by long-term trends, BRC-Springboard Footfall and Vacancies Monitor show. Across the UK, the average drop in footfall was even greater at 6%.

“Electrical products tend to be a considered purchase with the majority involving both online and instore research - 58% of all purchases are then made in store, 35% online and seven per cent through click and collect,” said Robert.

“Hughes has responded to these changes by investing heavily in its website so it can show for each branch what products can be demonstrated and what stock is also available for cash and carry.

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“Hughes also spends more money on online promotions to catch customers at the research stage and then encourages store visits for click and collect and voucher redemption.”

The web feeds researched customers and click and collect sales to the shop to help counter any decline in footfall, he explained.

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“By these means Hughes has managed to maintain in store sales while growing online business producing 10% more sales overall.”

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